Tuesday, February 24, 2015

kimchi fried rice

I made this quite awhile ago, but man, it's so tasty. I'm imagining eating it again right now, and I see another kimchi fried rice lunch coming up soon. Based on Just One Cookbook's recipe, I pretty much left it just as it was. More, more, more-ish.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

gluten-free matcha steamed cakes


I've been really inspired lately to steam a dessert, especially as I have no oven. I also like to keep things gluten free when possible, and I can buy almond flour from my local grocery store here in Kanazawa.

This recipe for a gluten-free steamed pudding with a rhubarb sauce sounds really good, and I hope to make that soon. However, in the meantime, I wanted something small to start with--something in individual sizes and not too time consuming.

Enter Just One Cookbook's green tea steamed cakes. After making her very more-ish kimchi fried rice recently, I knew her recipes were probably all amazing!


Matcha powder and sweet red beans are easy to come by in Japan, so all I had to do was change out a few ingredients to make it a little friendlier for our eating habits.

I mixed up the batter, put half in the bottom of the cupcake liner, put in a spoonful of sweet (organic) red beans, and then covered it with the rest of the batter.


I loved Just One Cookbook's idea to wrap a towel around the lid of the pan--it kept the condensation from coming back down on to the cakes.


The link to Just One Cookbook's recipe is above, and here is how I changed it a bit.

You'll need:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. melted butter
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 T. soy milk
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 C. almond flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. matcha (bitter green tea powder)
  • sweet red bean paste or sweet red beans 
Do this:

Wrap your frying pan lid with a towel. Put four ramekins into the empty pan, put water in halfway up the ramekins, then remove the ramekins again and put cupcake liners in them. Start boiling your water.

While you're doing that, whisk the egg, butter, honey, milk, and sugar in a bowl, then sift in the baking powder and matcha powder.

Spoon some batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner, dollop in a spoonful of sweet red beans, and cover with the rest of the batter.

Steam for 12-14 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in comes out clean. The bottom of the cupcake will be a bit squidgy because the beans sink to the bottom, but they are completely delightful. (Just One Cookbook serves the red beans as a topping after the cakes are finished cooking.)

Itadakimasu! 

coconut-milk green smoothie

So easy: spinach, avocado, carrot, fresh ginger, banana, frozen mango, coconut milk. And so creamy, tropical, and lovely.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

one-(wo)man coffee

Have you seen these little one-cup coffee filters? In addition to the coffee grounds it comes with, I've just put in some cinnamon, nutmeg, garam masala, and chopped crystallized ginger and candied orange peel. This isn't really gourmet coffee (we don't have a coffee maker), but it's fair trade and from our local Aeon grocery store (store brand).

Are these only in Japan?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

thai peanut chicken + rice noodles

Not gonna make this very often because it was a PITA (pain in the...tushy), but it was YUM. Thai rice noodles, chicken, and homemade Thai peanut sauce (homemade peanut butter, garlic, ginger, lime juice, honey, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce). Topped it with some grated lime peel. I want to eat the whole room every time I walk back in and smell the lingering leftover scent. (Sauce recipe from my blender cookbook.) Hooray for national holidays and time to fiddle in the kitchen!

Friday, January 2, 2015

(clean) snow smoothie

Kanazawa snow, blueberries, carrots, cucumber, spinach, avocado, banana, coconut milk, fresh ginger, tangerine, and a smiley face

Thursday, January 1, 2015

chestnut-ginger rice pudding with(out) coconut-rum cream

A new development for a new year! Here's hoping 2015 is extra tasty.

You'll need:
  • 200 g (7 ounces) cooked and shelled chestnuts, chopped in halves
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 c. short-grained rice
  • 3 c. soy milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. powdered ginger
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. cardamom
  • 4 pieces crystallized ginger, diced finely
  • 1/8 c. honey
  • 1 t. vanilla
For the cream:
  • 1 can coconut milk, pre-chilled in fridge (open it, scrape the hardened layer from the top and put it in a big bowl, and use the liquidy part for a smoothie or something--put the bowl and coconut cream in the fridge to stay cold till ready)
  • 2 t. powdered sugar
  • 2 t. rum
Do this:

First of all, a heads-up: watch your pot. Watch it like a hawk--milk enjoys boiling over. It gets a kick out of making a gihugic stinky burned mess on your gas burner. Not that I would know anything about that.

And now on to the actual directions.

I washed my rice to get the extra starch off, then put it in a pan with the milk and salt. I brought it to a lively simmer-boil, constantly stirring, and added the rest of the ingredients as the rice started to soften.

Watch it, watch it, watch it. Wait for it. Stir often to keep it from sticking.

When it's sufficiently mushy, bring your bowl and cream out of the fridge, and using a hand mixer, blend with the powdered sugar and rum. I've tried this with two different brands of coconut milk, and the last batch stiffened up nicely. This one didn't and stayed runny. Either way, delish. Just don't share this part with the kiddiewinks--they can have some cream sans the yummy rummy.

Dollop (or spoon) onto your rice pudding and sprinkle with a little cinnamon for a nice toasty-colored garnish.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

yuzu-ginger tropical-fruit crumble (gluten free)

No oven? Here's another microwaveable crumble that I put together recently. The heat from the doubled-up ginger and the tang of Japanese citrus were perfect for winter.

You'll need:

1/4 banana per person, chopped
1 can tropical fruit: papaya and pineapple
1 can mandarin oranges
3 small yuzu (Japanese citrus), juiced (I'd use the peel too)
1 1/2 c. almond flour
3 large pieces crystallized ginger, finely diced
1/4 c. flaked coconut, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/2 t. powdered ginger
3 t. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 c. butter or coconut oil, softened


Do this:

Drain the canned fruit (keeping a bit of the juices on hand) and add it with the bananas to each individual ramekin (or a larger baking dish if you're doing it all together). Add a wee bit of the canned juices to each bowl along with the yuzu juice and peel.

Mix the dry ingredients (including the coconut and crystallized ginger) in a large bowl and then work the butter in with your fingers until it's a crumbled, knobbly texture.

Cover each bowl with some of the crumble mixture, then cover and microwave each bowl about two minutes (depending on your microwave's power--mine is 700 watts).

This would be perfect with a rum sauce and/or whipped coconut cream. Eat with your favorite Japanese train spoon.








seasonal fun food bits and pieces

With no oven, I had to be creative with the frozen turkey I found (amazing that I could locate one!).

I didn't use a recipe, but I did add olive oil, butter, Himalayan pink rock salt, cracked pepper, garlic, onion powder, sage leaves, rosemary, chopped celery and leaves, and fresh bay leaves (about 4 or 5) from my friend's tree. I also added about a cup of Japanese sake. I cooked it while still partially frozen, so on high overnight and then low throughout the next day. I think I could've done it on low the whole time though.

Who knew a slow cooker could brown a bird? 
J-Bean had the wonderful idea to use some of my homemade cranberry sauce to make microwave mug muffins to go with our sausages for Christmas breakfast. Yum.
The extent of my Christmas "baking" this year: mix cream cheese, a tiny bit of powdered sugar, and rum-soaked and chopped candied orange peel, and stuff it in de-pitted dates. Top every other one with a walnut or sprinkle of nutmeg. I got rave reviews.
And you must have some popcorn while you're watching "White Christmas," right? I have a big beautiful tub of my favorite red miso from Okazaki, thanks to my friend Ayako. I had the brainwave to use it on popcorn, and found this recipe online after a quick search. Basically you melt butter, beer, and miso together and pour it on the popcorn (I did not add the extra spices). It was amazing!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

taco rice

Taco rice, an Okinawan tradition. Japanese short-grained sticky rice on the bottom, then taco meat, and top with your choice of goodies. Eat in a bowl with a spoon.

I'm pretty sure I've posted this before, but we've gotten back into the habit of eating it weekly again. 

I season my meat with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, garlic, onion, and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce.

Monday, December 15, 2014

wintry vegetafull-bacon soup

Warming, full of herbs, and riddled with bacon. What more could you ask for on a snowy day after a bout of shoveling?

These are not specific amounts--just enjoy playing in the kitchen! 

You'll need:
  • cooking sake
  • bouillon or stock
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • sage
  • bacon
  • turnips
  • red peppers (the sweet ones, like bell peppers)
  • potatoes
  • kabocha (or regular pumpkin would work too)
  • celery stalks + leaves
  • leeks
  • carrots
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil 
  • garlic cloves 
  • milk (I use soy because I don't have access to almond, but you can use dairy of course)
Do this:

Chop the veggies and bacon as small as you have time for--the smaller they are, the quicker they cook. Add them to a stock pot and sprinkle with olive oil. Saute a few minutes if you have time, or if you don't, go ahead and cover them with stock (or water + sake + bouillon powder or cubes) and add the rest of the ingredients. I would only put in enough liquid to just cover everything because you want this thick and creamy.

Bring to a boil and cook till everything is tender. I use an immersion blender to blend it all right in the pot, but you can use a regular blender if you have it.

Lastly, add some milk to taste.

Rx: Keep a jar of this handy and enjoy whenever you need an elixir of heat in your system.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

honey, they're yuzu carrots!

Mmm, mmm, zingy carrots! This is not a specific recipe, but it's officially now one of our favorites. A friend gave me some organic yuzu (a kind of Asian citrus) that her friend grew, and I needed to use them up quickly. I just boiled boiled some carrots in plain unsalted water, drained them, and then tossed in a bit of butter, honey, and freshly squeezed yuzu juice.

I served them with curry chicken in coconut sauce, and we all ended up dumping the rest of the carrot juices over our chicken dish. No waste! And lots of yum.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

kabocha-yuzu soup

All gone!
 You can't argue with an empty bowl. Or multiple empty bowls. 

(And do you like our 100-yen store tissue box cover? If you live in Japan, it's almost a requirement. Now that I've acquired one this time around, I feel as if my homemaking is complete.)

You could Westernize this by substituting regular pumpkin and lemon, lime, or orange juice (or a combo) instead of yuzu and leaving out the daikon. I wouldn't replace it with any other kind of radish. Click the link below for the full recipe. I served this with homemade hamburgers (no buns) with chopped green onion, garlic, almond flour, soy sauce, pepper, and cooking sake, cooked and topped with a red miso sauce and grated daikon radish.

You'll need: 
  • 1 whole kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), chopped and deseeded, but not peeled
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2-inch piece of daikon radish, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 sage leaves
  • about 1 t. rosemary leaves
  • 5 c. water
  • about 1 t. bouillon paste (or a couple of stock cubes if you have them)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk of your choice (we use soy in Japan because we can't get almond)
  • 1 yuzu (Japanese citrus), juiced 
Do this:

Saute the veggies in olive oil in a big stockpot for a few minutes (no need to soften completely), then add the water, herbs, salt and pepper, and bouillon paste. Simmer till everything is tender, then blend with an immersion blender or a regular one. Add in enough milk to make it creamier (I used about a cup or so), and make sure it's warmed through. For some final je ne sais quois, stir in the yuzu juice and taste for seasonings.

The creaminess of the kabocha, the hit of garlic, and the very Japanese citrus flavor of the yuzu work great together.

Itadakimasu!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

gluten-free microwave berry crumble

Haven't got an oven? Hey, we're in the same boat! I'm not actually a fan of the microwave, but you do what you have to do to have a warm, berryfull dessert on a cool fall day (this crumble followed a really yummy veggie, ham, and sausage soup, to be posted soon).

I made these in four individual mugs, but ramekins or a bigger glass pan would be fine, too, if you wanted to make one dish to ladle from.

You'll need:
  • frozen blueberries and raspberries, about 1/2 cup per person
  • lemon juice and brown sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried coconut 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 large pieces of crystallized ginger, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you have salted butter or nuts)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • honey for drizzling (if your crumble topping ends up being a bit too salty like mine was) 
Do this:

Plop your frozen berries in the container(s) and sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar (mix in). In a separate mixing bowl, stir the almond flour, coconut, nuts, crystallized ginger, spices, brown sugar, and salt (if using) together.

Stir the melted butter into the dry mix and mash together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. This will make about 1/2 cup of topping for each mug or bowl. Spoon the crumble over each container and drizzle with a little honey if desired.

My microwave is 700 watts, about half the power of a normal American unit, so please check your manual and adjust the cooking time as needed. Each of these cups (and don't forget to cover with a paper towel or similar) took about 90 seconds. If you have an American microwave, I would try for half that time and see how it goes.

The topping ended up happily nutty and crunchy, and our tummies didn't complain either. Tart berries and a granola-like topping! I've already been asked to make this again, and I won't say no.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

yuzu green beans

A lovely neighbor of ours shared the organic yuzu (Japanese citrus) and tougarashi (a kind of red chilli pepper) love. Aren't they gorgeous?

As a last-minute veggie side dish this evening, I grabbed some humble frozen green beans, sauteed them in olive oil, sprinkled on some chunky sea salt and pepper, and then finely grated some yuzu peel over all. It was as out of this world as the fireball meteor that flew over Japan yesterday!

We might not ever see a meteor like that in real life, but I'm definitely making this dish again.